From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
21-year-old Timiondu Jephthan has been found guilty for raping a five-year old girl to death.
Consequently a Sagbama High Court presided over by Justice Ebereyin Omukoro has sentenced him to 10years imprisonment.
Jephthan aged 16 in 2016 was said to have committed the offence at Akede Community in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The accused after the act had dumped the lifeless body of his victim at the fish pond beside his house.
Justice Omukoro in his ruling in the suit numbered SHC/4C/2016 with a one count charge of Murder brought against the accused by the State Ministry of Justice declared that the charge becomes manslaughter due to the inability of the prosecution to prove the alleged intent to commit murder.
According to him after considering the defendant’s plea of allocutus, the court is mindful of the youthful age of the defendant who could be redeemed and make amends by way of atonement for his action.
“The defendant be detained at the Okaka Correctional centre in Yenagoa or elsewhere as the Governor may determine for a period of 10 years at the pleasure of the State Governor.”
Deme Bebra Pamosoo who acted as the counsel to the victim’s parents ensured that the victim’s body was recovered, autopsy conducted by the Police and a water tight case file presented to the State Ministry of Justice for the Director of Public Prosecution recommendation for trial.
Reacting to the development, the Acting Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ebimietei Ekeowei Ottah, described the ruling as a victory to the victims of rape, defilement and violence against women in the state.
“It is a sound warning to the general public that it is no longer business as usual in Bayelsa state. Once you are brought before the law, the law will take its course and catch up with you.
“It has been a worrisome practice in Bayelsa State and more worrisome are the issue of negotiation with culprits by parents of victims of defilement or rape. It can no longer be tolerated or swept under the carpet as settlement. We call on parents, teachers, neighbours and guardians to be vigilant and speak out against cases of rape, defilement and violence against women in the state.”